Golden Halo

Next in­car­na­tion set to bring Microsoft more mil­lions

Finweek English Edition - - Techtrends -

A MILE­STONE IN video gam­ing was reached when Microsoft an­nounced that sales of its Halo 3 game had topped US$300m in its first week af­ter release in 2007. At the time that made it the fastest sell­ing video game in his­tory, be­fore Grand Theft Auto 4 was launched in 2008, rak­ing in $500m in its first week – in the United States alone.

Since the record-break­ing release of Halo 3, the ti­tle has gone on to make more mil­lions for Microsoft in sheer sales and by at­tract­ing con­sumers to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gam­ing con­sole and the Xbox Live on­line ser­vice, where gamers can play against each other and ac­cess dig­i­tal con­tent.

A year af­ter the launch of Halo 3 came Halo Wars, an­other suc­cess­ful ti­tle in the fran­chise. And last week Microsoft launched Halo 3: ODST as a stand­alone ex­pan­sion to Halo 3 – mean­ing it brings ex­tra con­tent and game-play to what’s es­sen­tially the same game.

Halo was de­vel­oped by Mi­crosoft­owned Bungie Stu­dios and is an ex­am­ple of a big-bud­get game fran­chise in a mar­ket eclips­ing other en­ter­tain­ment seg­ments, such as movies and mu­sic. In 2004 the mar­ket size for video games in the US was es­ti­mated at close to $11bn: the in­dus­try size world­wide is now likely a few times that.

The mar­ket is also grow­ing and push­ing into older de­mo­graph­ics, es­pe­cially with 25-to 50-year-olds, and SA is con­sid­ered to be one of the world’s fastest grow­ing mar­kets for video games.

With Halo 3: ODST Microsoft hopes to ex­tend its lead in the mar­ket over Sony, which has fallen be­hind with its PlaySta­tion 3 prod­uct, and do some catch-up to Nin­tendo, which is the mar­ket leader with its ridicu­lously pop­u­lar Wii con­sole.

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